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July 30, 2015 / 14 Av, 5775
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Letters To The Editor

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Unfair Cartoon

I was truly surprised to see myself caricatured as a thug in the April 26 editorial cartoon. I am a Jewish mother and grandmother – and an NRA member.

I support the NRA because I feel the safety of my family and my community is enhanced when law-abiding citizens have guns and know how to use them. I am also aware that tyrannies like Stalin’s Russia or Hitler’s Germany disarmed the populace before carrying out their agenda.

Can good people debate specifics of the law? Yes. That type of debate is closed off when one side sees the other as evil, which is unfortunately how Ms. Rosenthal sees me and other readers who view the second amendment as essential.

Susan Lapin
(Via E-Mail)

More On Censorship

With all respect, reader Michael Brenner (Letters, May 10) misses the point again. How can he possibly dispute my argument (Letters, May 3) that it is censorship when one is prevented from speaking because of the content of the speech?

Pamela Geller was invited to speak in a synagogue and then disinvited because of outside pressure. That means she was prevented from speaking on that occasion in that place because of what she was expected to say.

There is a world of difference between never being invited and being first invited and then disinvited based upon content of speech. Being disinvited meant she was no longer going to be able to expose members of that synagogue to her views. By any definition, that is censorship.

Nor can I make any sense out of his analogy to Muslim inciters. Disinviting one who would harangue against Jews would also constitute censorship. I may not object to such censorship, but censorship it most certainly is. That is not a political issue, as Mr. Brenner asserts. It is simply a matter of what words mean.

Isaac Perlman
(Via E-Mail)

Kerry’s Naiveté

“Kerry’s Frolic” (editorial, May 10) was an eye-opener for me. I welcomed Kerry’s nomination as secretary of state because of his vast experience in foreign affairs in the U.S. Senate and because I thought of him as being savvy and strong-willed. To this point, however, he seems totally ineffectual.

Why would he think Israel would go along with the Arab League proposal when it is so different from what President Obama has said about there being no preconditions for negotiations and that land swaps would be a necessary element of any peace deal?

Kerry also seems oblivious to the fact that the Arab plan, which was formulated when autocrats fully held sway in the Arab world, is of dubious utility in light of the Arab Spring. As you noted, Israel cannot rely on the commitments of governments that may not be long for this world.

Rivkah Adler
Jerusalem

Whom Is He Representing?

The highly visible Alan Dershowitz seems to pop up everywhere, maintaining that Israel must institute a settlement freeze and begin to negotiate permanent borders with the Palestinians. He says the guiding principle must be “two states for two peoples.”

I wonder if this is the advice he would have given President Lincoln in March and April of 1861: “Pull out of Fort Sumter, Mr. Lincoln. Let the Southern states secede. Let there be two states for two peoples.” And would he have advised Prime Minister Chamberlain that Hitler could be trusted, that giving up Czechoslovakia would bring “peace for our time”?

As a distinguished professor of law, Mr. Dershowitz knows it is an attorney’s job to present his client’s best case. But he is not acting as a defense counsel for Israel, presenting its strongest case; rather, he seems to be doing so for the Palestinians.

He operates under the assumption that the Palestinians want peace and all that is necessary is good will on the part of Israel. History, however, has shown that the Palestinians have no desire to live in peace with Jews, however truncated the Jewish state may be. If he sticks to the facts of the case, he will see there is no evidence of peaceful intentions on the part of the Palestinians. If they had a desire for peace they would not be praising and naming parks after murderers of Israeli civilians.

An attorney is entitled to take on any client and owes that client his best representation. What the attorney cannot do is claim to represent one client while actually representing the other. Please, Mr. Dershowitz, do not claim to speak for Israel if you are going to persist in presenting the case for Palestine.

David Willig
Safed, Israel

Absence Makes The Heart…

After four and a half years of Barack Obama, George W. Bush is looking pretty good. That’s the gist of a recent poll in the Washington Post, of all places.

Though still slightly under water, as the campaign wise men might put it, the former president’s job approval rating is now at 47 percent, up 14 points from his last day in office – and tied with President Obama’s 47 percent.

Obama succeeded Bush in no small part by blaming the Great Recession (and everything else) on Bush’s economic policies, but approval of those policies is up 19 percent from 2009.

This sharp change in public opinion confounds historians who insist that it takes years, if not decades, for a substantial revision of public opinion when it comes to a president’s legacy.

There are reasons to withhold a full embrace of the Bush presidency. Early in his term Bush never used his veto pen to check congressional excess. In its final year, the Bush administration went on a wild spending spree, blowing billions on the Troubled Asset Relief Program bailout of Wall Street’s greed and incompetence. Debate over the Iraq adventure simmers still. Even the elevation of John G. Roberts Jr. to the Supreme Court, which seemed like a good idea at the time, looks more like a mistake after the chief justice rescued Obamacare with a decision that astonished the conservative justices who thought Chief Justice Roberts was joining them in rescuing the Constitution from Obama’s abuse.

But there’s no arguing that the fundamentals of the economy were stronger under Bush. Filling up at the gasoline pump took half as much money as now. The jobless rate was under 6 percent during most of Bush’s presidency, and from December 2005 to November 2007 it was under 5 percent. Today, high unemployment is almost taken for granted, with the official rate at or above 7.5 percent.

Nevertheless, Obama built his reelection campaign on the message that he inherited America’s economic decline from Bush and needed another term to fix things. But Americans are coming to realize that borrowing trillions of dollars – leading to even greater debt, with taxes growing like mushrooms after an April shower – and tossing around taxpayer money on every boondoggle calling itself “green” won’t make the economy thrive again.

We can expect Obama’s approval rating to fall further and Bush’s to continue to rise. Absence really does make the heart grow fonder.

Brian J. Goldenfeld
Woodland Hills, CA

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